“When I was eight or nine I was doing a school project with National Geographic’s. My dad said ‘No, don’t use mine. Get your mom to take you to a used bookstore and you buy them there – those are the one’s you can cut up’. We went to one in West Van. I walked in and it was like the best place I’d ever been in in my whole life. And I honestly don’t think I’ve bought a new book since. Why would you?”
– Dalyce Ayton, Booklovers
What: Booklovers, a used bookstore in Lower Lonsdale
Who: Proprietor, Dalyce Ayton
When: Six years ago Dalyce took ownership of Booklovers, a well-loved shop of Lower Lonsdale that has been in business for 16 years total.
Where: Corner of 3rd and St. George (102 – 175 East 3rd Street)
“When people come in here it’s like inviting them in to my home”
Why do we love Booklovers
There are so many reasons! Filled to the brim with books and magazines, this literary smorgasbord is a book lovers dream. While the set up may be intimidating to the casual observer, the space is extremely welcoming and there is a definite method to the madness, just ask Dalyce.
There are little stools littered throughout the shop for the serious browser, and according to Dalyce everyone has their spot. For her, it’s behind the counter – the “hub” as she calls it – where she can chat with her customers. For me it’s the back of the store, nestled beneath the stacks of National Geographic’s that cover decades of fascinating trends and topics.
I also really love the story of how Dalyce came to own Booklovers. In her words;
“Owning a used bookstore had been a dream of mine since I was a child. My career took me in another direction – I spent 34 years in the food industry, but I never gave up on the idea that “one day” I would realize my dream. One day, while shopping at Booklovers, the owner mentioned he was selling, I knew this was the opportunity to do what I’d always wanted. So, I quit my job, bought the store, and never looked back!”
Why Lower Lonsdale
This is where Dalyce calls home. She first moved here in the mid-1970’s, and has watched the area transform from a rough and tumble neighbourhood of strip joints and bars in to the bustling community that it is today. She admits that the rate of growth is hard to see and that it can be tough on small businesses, but lucky for us Dalyce doesn’t see Booklovers closing shop any time soon.
Aside from Lower Lonsdale being her home, Dalyce had been a customer of Booklovers long before she purchased it. Even when she lived in other areas of North Vancouver she would make to trip to visit the shop. Since buying the store she has added a handful of bookcases –some of which were sourced from The Bookstall, the first used bookstore she ever went to–but otherwise the space has remained pretty much the same as it was from the beginning.
What Drives Your Small Business
Dalyce wholeheartedly asserts that the customers drive her business, continually motivating her to come in 7 days a week without fail. She considers Booklovers her home, and her customers to be her friends and family. Dalyce spoke of how much she values this little community, and that her customers continually amaze her with their thoughtfulness. She recalled a time when she was sick and had to close the store–a rare occurrence–her customers actually called her, not to complain about the store being closed, but to ask how she was doing and offer their help!
If you ask me, I’d say it’s Dalyce’s hard work and unceasing devotion to her store and her community that drives this business. Her love for all things Booklovers, particularly every person (and canine!) that walks through that door, shines through in everything that Dalyce says and does.
“This is a labour of love; it pays my bills and it’s a happy little life. No one goes in to used bookstores to make money. You do it because you love it.”
Booklovers is apparently a fantastic source for props in the TV and movie industry, which has lead Dalyce to once in a while receive orders for filling a bookcase with time or age-appropriate titles. For example, she’s the one who filled the library on the set of Vancouver-filmed Once Upon a Time! Although it doesn’t create a steady source of income, it’s a pretty neat claim to fame.
If you want to connect with Booklovers, check out the store’s Facebook page here.